Finding my ancestry

I set out to find the real answer to that constant question – “where are you from?”

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


My ancestry test

Being on the road most of the time, I meet a lot of new people. One of the first questions that people ask when starting a conversation – and I’m sure you get this all the time too – is ‘where are you from?’.

It should be an easy answer. I normally say Australia, where I was born and grew up. I sometimes say the UK, where half my family is from and I’m also a citizen.

But the answer, I’m sure, is much more complicated than that. I say Australia or the UK because they are the direct lines that I can trace. But where did my ancestors, many generations before, come from?

There has been so much movement of people around the planet for millennia that it’s never clear where my family came from before anyone can remember.

Was it from other parts of Europe and, if so, from the north or the south or the east? Did they come from even further afield at some point, gradually migrating across continents or travelling by boat to find new lives on the other side of the world?

Well, some of these answers are inside me – in my DNA. And now there is a way to unlock these secrets. I’ve decided to find out, in conjunction with Momondo.

Ancestry test

You have probably heard of Momondo – it is a search engine for hotels and flights – and it is embarking on its own DNA journey. It has been helping its staff and customers find out their heritage

I like the idea behind the campaign to help people learn about their ancestry. As Momondo puts it, it’s “an invitation to cross boundaries, embrace our differences and open our world”.

Ancestry test

The guys there asked if I would like to try it as well and I thought it sounded interesting. So they sent me a DNA kit from and I have started the journey of discovery.

It’s a pretty easy process. Inside the kit is a small plastic tube and you just need to spit into it until you’ve filled up to the line (it doesn’t take much saliva to get there).

Ancestry test

Then you screw on a cap that has a blue solution inside it and you shake it all together until it is properly mixed.

Ancestry test

You record the number that is on the tube so you can register it as yours and get the results.

And then you put the tube in the box that is provided (it already has postage paid on it) and drop it into a mailbox anywhere in the world.

Ancestry test

So, I have now sent the DNA samples off and I’ll get the answers in 6-8 weeks. I’m curious to see what they say. Will it be as I expect, that my ancestry is British, or will there be some surprises in there.

One of the reasons that Momondo is involved in this campaign is because they are encouraging people to then explore the countries that it turns out they have a heritage from. So perhaps I would use their search engine to find a flight to London to see my British family. Or perhaps there will be somewhere new that I could explore.

Ancestry test

I’ve had a few friends mention recently that they have done these kind of ancestry tests and have been really interested in what they found. Have you done one yourself and were there any surprises in it? And were you then tempted to learn more about the countries that have influenced your DNA?

I’m kind of secretly hoping that maybe I have some heritage from somewhere like Fiji, just so I have an excuse to go and visit. I am not sure I would be so impressed if it was a boring country.

Regardless, at least it is going to give me some new answers next time I meet someone new on the road and they ask me where I’m from. They may not be expecting such a lengthy answer!

This Time Travel Turtle post is sponsored by Momondo but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

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